Annual Conference for Middle Level Education

October 9-12, 2016 • Austin, Texas

Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education

This special ticketed event is an add-on option to your AMLE2016 registration.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Austin, Texas
Austin Convention Center

You are cordially invited to attend the Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education presented by Association for Middle Level Education in collaboration with the AMLE Professional Preparation Advisory Committee, the AMLE Research Advisory Committee, the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education and the American Educational Research Association Middle Level Education Research SIG.

Excellent middle grades teacher preparation is critical to the success of education. Whether you are just starting a program for middle grades educators or are involved in an established program, AMLE's Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education is for you!

Come share the latest information, trends, and best practices to enhance the quality of middle level teacher education!

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Austin, Texas
Austin Convention Center


The best professional development investment that you will make this year features

  • Sessions on developing and sustaining exemplary middle level teacher preparation programs.
  • Opportunities to network with other teacher educators.
  • Discussions about the future of middle level teacher preparation with colleagues from around the country.

This important symposium will ask compelling questions and address challenging statements and critical issues

  • How will middle level teacher preparation programs meet the ever-changing demands of the 21st century?
  • How will the teachers you prepare today improve education for young adolescents tomorrow?
  • Is your institution providing the specialized preparation needed by prospective and practicing middle level teachers?
  • How does your state assist colleges and schools of education in the national accreditation process?
  • Is your teacher preparation program nationally accredited?
  • How do you evaluate your middle level teacher candidates to ensure they will be knowledgeable and effective teachers?
  • How do you assess graduates of your middle level teacher preparation program?

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Austin, Texas
Austin Convention Center

Who should attend this symposium?

  • Faculty members of colleges and universities
  • Faculty members of undergraduate or graduate middle level teacher preparation programs
  • Administrators of colleges, schools, and departments of education
  • Policymakers
  • Members of state departments of education
  • Anyone who participates in the preparation of teachers of young adolescents
  • Individuals interested in transitioning from middle school teacher to teacher educator

The Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Preparation will foster a learning community that is actively engaged in expanding the knowledge base about teacher preparation at the middle level.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Austin, Texas
Austin Convention Center


Sunday, October 9 2016  
Welcome and Symposium Overview 8:00 a.m.–8:30 a.m.
Paper Sessions #1 8:35 a.m.–9:35 a.m.
Roundtable Discussions
9:40 a.m.–10:40 a.m.
Paper Sessions #2 10:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
Lunch (provided)
Keynote, Panel/Discussion

David Chodak
Associate Director of Advocacy at NASSP
Dr. Michelle Smith
Consultant, Hillco Partners
Matt Pope
Raise up Texas
Penny Bishop
University of Vermont
Micki Caskey
Portland State University
11:55 a.m.–1:55 p.m.
Paper Sessions #3 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Austin, Texas
Austin Convention Center


Paper Sessions #1
8:35 a.m. – 9:35 a.m.

Building Cross-Institutional Collaborations: Bridging the Divide
Margaret Rintamaa and Penny Howell
This presentation chronicles a cross-institutional collaboration involving students and faculty. We will discuss the collaborative efforts of two universities engaged in efforts to share practice and model a team approach to fostering developmentally responsive practices among their pre-service candidates. Participants will see multiple examples of cross-institutional collaborations and engage in a discussion advocating for collaborative teacher preparation.

Co-Teaching Online: Preparing Alternate Route Middle Level Educators
Nicole Miller and Bethany McKissick
Learn about an online co-teaching model in a middle level teacher preparation program to prepare teachers to work effectively with all young adolescents, including students with disabilities. This presentation will provide the justification and rationale for this model, along with benefits and challenges experienced and those identified for future and continuing implementation.

Exploring the Potential of Professional Development Schools for Middle Grades Education
Stacie Pettit and Laura Rychly
Participants will learn about teacher candidates' and cooperating teachers' experiences as we transitioned from a traditional middle grades teacher education program to a Partner Development School (PDS) model. We found themes about challenges, successes, and opportunities that exist in this cooperative teacher preparation model. Participants will gain insight into how to implement this partnerships whether from the middle school or university perspective.

Improving Middle Level Content Literacy through Visual Texts
Lienne Medford and Mike Cook
This interactive session will guide participants through a unique approach to literacy instruction for all middle school students, particularly emerging bilinguals. Participants will engage in and discuss classroom-ready approaches for middle level teacher education candidates ready to transfer K-12 students in all content areas.

Characteristics of a Middle Level Teacher Preparation Program: Results from a Pilot Study
Steven Mertens
This session presents the results from a year-long pilot study examining effective program components of a well-established middle level teacher preparation program. Attendees will be asked to participate in a group discussion of the longitudinal research project design, followed by opportunity for attendees to share similar efforts at their institutions.

Strengthening Developmental Trajectories Toward Responsiveness: Learning to Teach at the Middle Level
Holly Henderson Pinter, Kim Winter, and David Strahan
This session includes perspective and voices of faculty and teacher candidates working with a re-vamped middle grades program that resulted from a university wide program re-prioritization effort. Faculty members will discuss the data used to drive the program changes and reflect on its current status of implementation. Participants will interact with the session using Twitter to share their current context and their opinions.

You Want Me To Do What? Developing and Using a Co-Teaching Model within a Middle Level Education Program
Ellis Hurd and Gary Weilbacher
Most co-teaching research focuses on classroom and special education teachers. But what about co-teaching that takes place among middle level educators? If middle level educators wish to implement practices founded on middle level ideals, they must consider collaborative forms of teaching. This presentation features co-teaching for middle grades education. Learn how alternative co-teaching models create meaningful experiences for teacher candidates, classroom teachers, and university faculty!

Empowering Diversity with Online Literature Circles
Cody Lawson and Denice Turner
As a way of fostering real-world approaches to difficult conversations in the classroom, this presentation will show teacher preparation specialists how to use online literature circles in ways that leverage candidate curiosity, while inviting discourse that changes attitudes and practices.

Roundtable Discussions
9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

Drawing Teacher Candidates Toward the Middle
Amy Vizenor
Though most pre-service teachers view themselves as future elementary or high school teachers, the reality is that almost one-third of teaching jobs will be in grades 5-8. Middle schools benefit from hiring teachers who value young adolescents and who are prepared to teach them. In this session, participants will predict factors that positively or negatively influence pre-service teachers' desire to teach at the middle level, explore the results of research on this topic, and discuss ways in which they draw candidates to the middle at their institutions.

Authentic Community Involvement - A Key for Student Opportunities
Blaine Carpenter
Authentic Community and Family Engagement is key to creating opportunities for students to develop 21st century skills necessary for success in a global society. The presenters will engage participants in a workshop model to share processes that create buy-in from various stakeholder groups that can be leveraged to maximize resources. Interactive technology will provide participants opportunities to network, sharing ideas and questions. Participants will walk away with a model that authentically engages community, business, and family partners in a decision making process. Videos from the field will demonstrate the value felt by community and business partners, as well as partners, staff, and students. These videos will provide real world context for the efficacy of this model.

Service Learning and Middle Level Learning: A Place-Based Professional Development Framework
John Traynor
Faculty from a university-based teacher education program present a template for in-service and pre-service development of middle level service learning and community engagement projects. The presentation is designed in a workshop format such that attendees will learn about elements of high quality service learning linked to middle level teaching and learning. Additionally, participants will engage in a template that facilitates the development, either through in-service or pre-service training, of projects that align to their respective curricular and community contexts.

The Ultimate Middle Level Teacher Education Program: Developing the Whole Teacher
Jason Trumble
This presentation will present the structure and successes of the middle level teacher education program at the University of Central Arkansas. Special attention will be given to the scope and sequence of the teacher education curriculum, authentic field experiences, statewide professional connections, and increased professional development opportunities through strong collaborations with middle school teachers and UCA faculty.

Cultivating Dispositions with Fierce Conversations
Claudia Wickham
Challenge and develop your thinking as a middle level leader and consider how transparent feedback can empower pre-service teachers or practicing teachers. Research based strategies will be provided as a guide for consideration and leadership development.

Integrating International Baccalaureate(IB) a Middle Level Teacher Preparation Program
Sara Raven and Robin Dever
The adoption of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in middle schools is expanding. There is continual demand for middle level teachers who are prepared to teach in an IB school. Upon examination, the IB program and principles of This We Believe overlap in their principles and core values. A discussion of how one university integrated the IB model into its undergraduate middle level teacher preparation program and is authorized for its graduates to obtain their IB Teaching and Learning Educator Certificate.

Middle Level Prepared, Junior High Posted
Karynne Kleine and Jacquie Tallman
Join a teacher and teacher educator, both strongly committed to middle level education, to learn of their co-exploration into the tensions and possibilities that arise from the former having been prepared to work in a middle school and excelling in her program yet actually teaching in a junior high school. Opportunity for reflection, small group problem identification, and discussion about possible responses to this issue and will be encouraged.

Middle Level Reflective Practioners: Using Reflection to Analyze Pre-Service Preparedness
Bobette Bouton
This presentation is designed to disseminate the information received from the "Pre-Service Teachers Preparedness through Reflection." The purpose of this study was to collect reflection data on middle level pre-service teachers entering and exiting the Residency I field placement. The data collected will be used to make both academic and procedural changes where needed using the information that the participants provide.

The Ties that Bind: Supporting School, University, and Community Collaboration
Michelle Reidel, Christine Draper, and Amanda Wall
Learn how one college of education engages in a range of partnerships to strengthen ties with schools and communities. Specifically, we will share our efforts in areas like, teaching on-site, designing a faculty-in-residence program, and establishing a Partnership Council, which awards funding to support engagement and collaborative partnership initiatives. Such efforts give middle level teacher candidates new perspectives and opportunities to engage in collaboration.

Paper Sessions #2
10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Advocating for an Identity that Stands-Alone: Middle Level Teacher Preparation
Nicole Thompson, Shawn Faulkner, Penny Howell, Christopher Cook, Nicole Miller, and Margaret Rintamaa
This session will highlight the multiple pathways existing for people desiring to be middle level educators. As overlapping licensure is the norm, advocacy approaches will be explored to promote stand-alone options. Given accountability, assessment practices, and education outcomes, it is no longer sufficient for teachers to be prepared by add-on or overlapping endorsements in middle level education.

Creating University-Based Support Network for Novice Teachers
Michael DiCicco, Shawn Faulkner, and Christopher Cook
It is no secret that beginning teachers need appropriate support systems to enhance their early career success. Unfortunately, teacher preparation programs often have limited contact with their graduates once they complete their preparation program. What responsibility and accountability should universities have in supporting their recent graduates? This session describes how two universities worked to develop support systems to assist newly hired graduates.

Obstacles & Opportunities: Creating and Keeping a Clinically-Rich STEM Middle Level Residency Program
Cheryl Ellerbrock, UndreCia Pedraza, Michael Morris, James Duran, Danielle Hange, Montenique Woodward, and Victoria Schepisi
This presentation describes a clinically-rich STEM middle level residency program aimed to cultivate responsive middle level STEM educators. Obstacles and opportunities will be highlighted along with questions for the middle level teacher preparation community to consider.

Exemplary Practices in Middle Grades Teacher Education
Micki Caskey and Jan Carpenter
Come to this session to participate in a learning exchange about exemplary practices in middle grades teacher education. This session will highlight recent research about middle grades teacher education, identify resources that support teaching and learning, and provide a forum for sharing effective strategies for preparing middle grades teachers.

Silos Belong on Farms: Integration of Methods Courses & Field Experiences at the Middle Level
Mandy Biggers and Kim Mowery
In many teacher preparation programs, methods courses and field experiences are often taught in a "silo" fashion. In this session, participants will learn how we integrated the various elements of the final year of our preservice teacher education program, as well as how we overcame barriers to this type of integration. We will share how novel class activities and assessments supported the learning goals of the interns, and how these interns were evaluated by their team of instructors.

Preparing Pre-Service Teachers for Student Family Engagement
Brooke Eisenbach, Summer Clark, and Amy Gooden
All too often, pre-service teachers report feeling ill-prepared to effectively communicate with and welcome families into the classroom (Flanagan, 2007). This session will focus on research-based practices for assisting pre-service teachers in engaging diverse families within the middle-level classroom. Participants will leave the session with ideas for enhancing their teacher education courses with reflective and practical family engagement tools.

Other Duties as Assigned: Middle Grades Teacher Candidates Evolving Beliefs about Teaching
Matthew Moulton, Katherine Thompson, and Gayle Andrews
"Other duties as assigned" includes so much more than bus duty and spring dance committee. Come hear about how middle grades teacher candidates, through an immersive Professional Development School model, develop a deeper, community-based understanding about what the role of a teacher really entails.

Does it Matter: Mathematical Knowledge for Middle School Teachers
Dana Franz
This session will examine the shifts in national mathematics standards and recommendations for the mathematics courses that will prepare teacher candidates to teach this mathematics. Middle school students have unique learning needs that need to considered within the context of mathematical pedagogy. Therefore, teacher educators need to advocate for mathematical preparation within middle level education.

Paper Sessions #3
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Power of Teacher-Directed Professional Development
Penny Bishop, Susan Hennessey, Scott Thompson, and John Downes
In this session we explore what happens when teachers are empowered to guide their own learning. We will share how we have modeled learner-centered practice in the context of middle grades teacher education. In particular, we will showcase three examples of teacher-centered professional development: a) teacher personal learning plans, b) action research, and c) a teacher-led webinar series. Join us to share your own institutional approaches to teacher-centered practice.

Passion is Not Enough: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers to be Diplomats for Change
Jessica DeMink-Carthew and Penny Bishop
Middle level teacher education programs are an oft-purported lever for middle level education reform. While teacher candidates often leave our programs passionate about middle level philosophy, they are also often underprepared for the political work of reform-oriented advocacy and leadership. Drawing on the experiences of four student teachers, this session proposes a set of diplomacy skills needed to engage in reform-oriented teaching and advocacy.

Embedded Professional Development: Middle Grades Teachers Share Experiences Using Interactive Webinars
James Nagle
With the mandate for schools to address personalized learning, teachers struggle to design authentic ways to implement it with their students. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of a statewide interactive webinar series that provides virtual conferencing for teachers as they grapple with issues in integrating personalized learning in middle grades teaching. The paper provides specific examples how this webinar series has created a professional learning community among these educators.

An Interdisciplinary Historical Biographies Content Course That Addresses Content Area Literacies
Bea Bailey
Our session opens conversation about and offers strategies for how to develop a combined content area humanities course that encourages differentiated content area literacy strategies for social studies and ELA teacher candidates. We will show from a brief examination of candidate work how our focus within our historical biographies course can help ELA candidates address genre studies while social studies candidates analyze historical significance and contextualization. They all examine the same young adult biographies but use different discipline specific literacy tools.

Using edTPA Data to Support and Prepare Middle Level Pre-Service Teacher Candidates to be Effective Teachers
DeAnna Owens
This session will provide attendees with data and strategies that are used to support Pre-Service Middle Level Education candidates during their preparation for their edTPA. The data provided will also include how to integrate the components of the edTPA in the candidate's transition to their first year of teaching.

Preparing Culturally Responsive Middle Grades Educators
Kathleen Brinegar, Cynthia Reyes, and Lisa Harrison
This session will examine how we prepare middle grades teachers to explore difference in ways that help them foster an inclusive culture within their future classrooms.

Theory to Practice: Student Teacher Transitions
Carol Watson
As the PA ML cert geared up after its first completers in 2013, we began to recognize the challenges that need to be addressed in order to improve and sustain it. One challenge is to develop a cohesive transition from the on-campus coursework to our public classrooms. Most practicing ML teachers earned certs in either PK-6 or 7-12 and have not been through a formal ML cert program. This may create a significant disconnect; particularly young adolescent dev and ped. Data from 2013 and 2016 grads will be compared to determine what changes may have occurred across the first 3 years.

What Do High Ability Students Want in Their Curriculum? Ask Them!
Lannie Kanevsky
The "Possibilities for Learning" is a learning preference survey that enables high ability students identify which of more than 100 ways to differentiate they like most and least. Each item is based on a differentiation strategy recommended for gifted students. The students or their teachers can use their preferences to find, modify or create leaving experiences with those features. The survey, process and support materials will be provided and described. They can be customized to suit your subject and students. All have been used in classrooms and research.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – Austin, Texas
Austin Convention Center


The Symposium is a special ticketed event of AMLE2016, the Annual Conference for Middle Level Education.

Tickets are $199, in addition to your AMLE2016 registration, and include access to all symposium sessions and lunch.

Register Online